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Get easy access to email attachments via cloud

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY A quick survey of my Gmail account reveals a conservative estimate of about 1,000 email attachments lurking in my inbox. Finding any particular email and related attachment is always painful and cumbersome. Thanks to, I now have some easy ways to access, organize, and manage my attachments.

When you first start using, it really does just one thing: The site displays all of the attachments stored in your Gmail account in thumbnail form on its Web page. You can search for a specific file, or you can choose the desired file type from a drop-down menu to quickly see just documents, music, video and so on. You can save searches and re-use them with a single click.

From the page, you can click any attachment and view it, send it to your Dropbox account, or download it to your PC.

That's nice, but things get better if you use Chrome. Install the extension, and integrates right into your Gmail inbox; you can send any attachment to Dropbox right from Gmail. Even better, the Chrome extension lets you set up rules -- whenever you get an attachment from Betty, for example, can send a copy of that attachment to a specific folder in Dropbox for you. You can even be as specific as "only send photos from Betty to a particular Dropbox folder."

Don't use Chrome? Not a big deal -- just install the iPhone app and get all the same rules functionality.

Getting an account is easy -- just log in via your Gmail credentials. For now, the service is completely free, though the site does talk about a coming Pro version, which will most likely include a subscription fee.

If you're in an enterprise or if you are very sensitive to privacy concerns, you might be wary of the fact that is handling all of your attachments, and even making remote copies of them for caching ands performance purposes. Another problem: While rules let you specify where on Dropbox your attachments get saved, if you simply choose to copy an attachment to Dropbox, it gets dropped in the root, which can make a real mess in short order. Despite these concerns, is a cool and useful enhancement to Gmail that will be a boon to anyone who routinely works with attachments. In other words, everyone.

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